Abetment of suicide are mainly a result of mental and/or physical harassment. The question that was put forth before the Supreme Court in the matter of Vaijnath Kondiba Khandke vs. State of Maharashtra was whether the superior officer was guilty of committing the offence of abetment of suicide of his junior officer. In the present appeal, it was contended that the superior officer assigned work to his junior officer and took actions against him like stopping of his salary amounted to abetment of suicide by the junior officer.
The wife of the junior officer had filed a complaint stating that the superior officers were giving a heavy load of work to her husband which required him to work for 12 hours or more. It was also stated that her husband was called on odd hours to the office and also on holidays to work and at one point of time, the salary was stopped for a period of one month with threats of non-increment of his salary. All such instances were stated as reasons for the husband of the complainant to commit suicide.
The apex court bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice UU Lalit presiding over the appeal observed that the deceased did not leave any suicide note there is no suicide note and the only material on record was the statement given by the wife of the deceased in her complaint to the police. For the purpose of constituting an offence under Section 306 of the IPC, the present case failed to satisfy the conditions for the offence of abetment of suicide. It was observed as follows:
“As a superior officer, if some work was assigned by the applicant to the deceased, merely on that count it cannot be said that there was any guilty mind or criminal intent. The exigencies of work and the situation may call for certain action on part of a superior including stopping of salary of a junior officer for a month. That action simplicitor cannot be considered to be a pointer against such superior officer. The allegations in the FIR are completely inadequate and do not satisfy the requirements under Section 306 IPC. In our view, the facts in the present case stand on a footing better than that in Madan Mohan Singh (supra) and there is absolutely no room for invoking provisions of Section 306 IPC.”
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